While I was writing a separate post about friendships and relationships, I ended up referring back to my life on growing up a TCK, (Third Culture Kid). The next thing I knew, I was ranting on what a TCK is and I realized I went way out of topic. So I decided to just cut out that whole paragraph and start up a new post as to what a TCK is and the joys and frustrations we go through.
So being a TCK meant I spent most of my life, especially my formative years, outside my passport country. Meaning, I don’t think like most of the people from my country nor do I usually uphold the same values or mindsets. There are times that I do, but I wouldn’t necessarily have the exact trains of thought as most of my fellow countrymen. At the same time, I’m don’t necessarily follow the culture of the country I grew up in. So despite many years in Thailand or my teen years in America, I’m neither Thai nor American. I can grasp and understand these “foreign” cultures better and through this life (I mean it literally) experience, I’d like to think I’m better for it.
However, as you can read from that ramble, I’m quite the confused individual. I’m aware and have fully accepted my station in life, but it doesn’t exactly make life easier. Unfortunately, most of the places I go, I tend to get misunderstood. If I’m in most Asian countries, I’m occasionally considered arrogant, blunt and crude. When I’m in Western cultures, I’m apologetic and way too polite. Seriously, wouldn’t that mess you up?
Don’t misunderstand. I have embraced TCKness and I am genuinely proud to be one. However, if you’re an obsessive compulsive person who likes to plan and categorize life like I do, you’d understand the irritation I’ve constantly felt when NOTHING ever goes according to plan.
But again, being a TCK has taught me to to expect the random, to accept diversity and to understand differences. I learned how there are millions of sides to a coin and that sometimes the shades of gray come in different tones. Being a TCK has left me to be more open-minded, tolerant, and forgiving, but I do my best NOT to be conforming. As a young child, growing up in a culture that encourages you to conform, it was easy. But again, when you had to live through two contrasting cultures (make that three), you have to find where you stand. You have to really know who you are as a person. You can’t just say you’re Filipino, or Thai, or American. You have to know you so that you can move on and grow in life.
For someone who hates complications and complexities, this was a huge struggle. While I’m still a work in progress, I believe I’ve found a starting point:
I will most likely never be fully understood, I’m a Third Culture Kid, and I’m Grace..